Gutierrez: ‘Working men and women need a unified voice’

The following letter appeared in the Star-Ledger.

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Tell the World Why You Are Sticking To The Union.

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The Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision last week strikes a blow against the unions that fight for members’ hard-earned benefits. More importantly, lower wages and lessened benefits create even more uncertainty to workers without the security of a union and collective bargaining.

After arriving from Cuba in the mid-1960s, my parents became factory workers in the embroideries of Hudson County. After joining their union, they were assured fair wages and benefits they were unlikely to receive otherwise. It paved the way to securing a future that included buying a home and providing education for their children.

After decades in the corporate sector, I entered the world of academia. Immediately upon learning of AFT Local 1904’s presence at Montclair State University, I eagerly joined fully aware of the benefits union membership had afforded my family.

Working men and women need a unified voice and the Janus decision has in no uncertain terms tried to silence that voice. I am and will remain a proud union member and continue to stand for the common good represented by public sector unions and in particular AFT Local 1904.

Lissette Gutierrez, AFT Local 1904, Montclair State University